I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.


Gluten and lactose are not my friends.


Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.


I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

May 14, 2013

Rose Geranium Duck Egg Sponge




I have some lovely Foodie Friends

Friends who enjoy good food, interesting food, different food and cooking it as much as just eating it. Friends who get excited when they stumble across something a bit different, or who invite you to share a pig-on-a-spit in their backyard.

One of these friends of mine is Rachael, my Hydro Therapist, who is lovely enough to spend each session with me not only overseeing my physical health in the pool, but also my mental health by chatting and gossiping with me about the latest in her Love Life and Food Life too. Many a meal is discussed and disected with the rest of our group, recipes are swapped...and sometimes ingredients as well.

Duck eggs are not something I use regularly. Hen eggs are easily available and are the go-to for every baking recipe so it was very exciting when Rachael offered me some duck eggs to play with for a change.

Duck eggs on the left, hen eggs on the right:


Duck eggs are just perfect for baking, the whites have more protein so they'll whip higher than regular chookie eggs, and the yolks have more fats so they are richer as well. I figured that with such good characteristics as these the best way to show off the little lovelies was in a classic Sponge Cake because it needs both of these attributes to perform their best


The hardest part about finding a recipe though, was the size difference between the two types of eggs. Baking has a fine balancing act between ingredients and I didn't want to mess them up with guess work, and these eggs were big suckers indeed.
I figured instead of trying to do something completely different, I'd follow Michael Ruhlman's guide of cooking to Ratios instead of individual ingredient count.

His basic Sponge Cake Ratio is 1 part Egg: 1 part Sugar: 1 part Flour: 1 part Butter

The only part that is really variable is the amount of butter used. You can use none at all, some or the full amount. Michael insists that it's the method that makes the cake light and airy and the butter just makes it richer and more delicious. I went with a fraction of the butter amount- only because I had forgotten to grab any at the shops that morning :) I would use more next time though, as we sadly know all to well, gluten free baking tends to dry out much faster than the regular version and this would help keep it moist longer

So there is no 'real' recipe for this cake today, instead the magic ratio of Egg:Sugar:Flour:Butter, and a surprise ingredient for adding a lovely floral flavour that permeated the whole cake through and made my kitchen smell divine all day


I started my ratio off by weighing the cracked eggs, they set the benchmark for the rest of the ingredients. Always use room temperature eggs as they whip much better than ones from the fridge.
Now this made enough batter for 1 huge 40 cm cake pan, but smaller, thinner layers would have been by far the better choice. I just happened to break my other same sized pan and didn't want to let my batter go flat while the first layer cooked. If I were you, I would use a more conservative amount of ingredients :)



The magic four ingredients:
You can also use a flavouring medium like vanilla or lemon zest or something yummy




Beat together the eggs and sugar until they are nice, thick, and about tripled in size- this will take about 5 to 7 minutes, but my mixer is pretty strong and yours might take a little longer




Now for my surprise ingredient- Rose Geranium leaves from my Kitchen Garden
I love the scent of this, it's a bit sharper than straight rose, and flavours things quite strongly. You can get it in the herb section of your Garden Centre, or feel free to use you own favourite flavour instead




While the eggs are beating, line the bottom of your cake pan with paper, then with the Rose Geranium leaves.
I made the mistake of not using two cake tins- Big Mistake! The weight of the batter was a bit too heavy and the sponge didn't get the extra lift that it should. If I'd used the two pans I would have had a tower of a cake with a feather light texture instead of a nice cake that had slightly dried out edges by the time the centre was cooked through




The eggs and sugar should be lovely and fluffy by now, leaving ribbons of batter as you move the beaters across the mix




Gently sift over the flour and start carefully folding it through




Drizzle in the melted butter and keep folding it in until it's evenly distributed




See how it's gone nice and glossy now?




Pour the mix into the pans, don't knock it about too much or you will get rid of all the lovely little air bubbles that will help it to rise




Because I made the one larger cake, it didn't bake as evenly as usual. The edges were higher than the slightly sunken middle so I had to trim it up carefully with a serrated knife
As this baked the kitchen filled with the glorious scent of a flower garden- heady, sweet, and when I opened the oven door- almost intoxicating!




Turn the cake over to reveal the leaves underneath. Of course you could eat them, they're not too bad really, but it's a bit chewy and odd to have big bits of greenery in a sponge




Prise out the leaves carefully as they would have sunken a bit into the batter as the cake cooked. I like to leave the pattern as decoration, but you could hide it inside if you prefer




If you were silly enough to use one big pan, cool the cake completely then split it in two




Spread the bottom layer with a nice thick covering of raspberry jam, then if your diet allows, plenty of whipped cream. Stop the cream just a little shy of the cake edge so it can handle compressing slightly when topped and cut




Pop the top layer with the pretty picture on top of the filling, but carefully so you don't squish it all out the sides




Deliciously dust the top of the finished cake with icing sugar for an appetising ethereal effect




Slice very carefully with a very sharp knife indeed to avoid spoiling the loveliness. Not quite perfect looking I know, but it sure tasted good anyway




Mmmm..... so sweetly scented and lovely and light!


So my Dear Readers, have you ever heard of Rose Geraniums, and who are your Fabulous Foodie Friends?

To see some more of my Fabulous Foodie Friends in action, check out Lorraine's story on her long-awaited Book Launch- then go out and buy one for you and all your foodie friends too!
http://www.notquitenigella.com/2013/05/14/book-sandwiches-book-launch-party/



31 comments:

  1. Ooh we were at a community garden and they told us all about using the leaves in a sponge. So fascinating to see it in action! And thank you so much for your invaluable help at the book launch party!! You guys are the best! xxx

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    1. Thanks Sweetie, I had a wonderful time, and thanks for sharing it all with me too :) THe geranium leaves are really strongly scented and flavour the cakes trough beautifully, I hope you can try it out one day xox

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  2. Have not heard of using rose geranium in baking before - must try that! And for a cream lover you seem to have put my dream amount in the centre - mmmm!

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    1. I know it was a lot Christie, not so good for lactose InTolerance, but perfect for the kiddies. If you're going to do it, you might as well do it properly, right?! :)

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  3. Oh yes, Bec, am growing them in pots in my courtyard and grew them previously in my little townhouse garden. The scent speaks of freedom to me... for it was the leaves of rose geraniums I would rub and hold to my face when my marriage broke down and I finally left. Rose geraniums mean happiness. Love your 'recipe' here. ; )

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    1. They make me happy too Lizzy! Isn't it funny how scent is so provocative and can trigger memories. I'm glad yours are now happy ones

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  4. Love the look and sound of this one love! I've not cooked with Rose Geranium before but it's been on my to-do list for years... we used to cook lots with duck eggs at the last restaurant I worked in though. They make a killer Spanish-style tortilla. xx

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    1. Oooh, they would be perfect for that indeed Emma! I love flaral flavours and rose geranium is just so gorgeous I hope you get to give it a try soon :)

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  5. That's a great looking sponge cake and I just love those geranium leaves and the beautiful pattern (and flavour) they leave on the cake. You are so talented, Rebecca. This is a fabulous looking cake and I'll try it if I can just find me a geranium bush - I say as I look left and right at the neighbours xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie! Just make sure the neighbours geraniums are yummy ones- not like the Mozzie Buster citronella scented ones, or your cake could be 'interesting' to say the least! :) xox

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  6. I've never heard of using Rose Geranium in baking before! So cool and awesome!

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    1. THanks Ms Ihua! They are a nice change from vanilla or chocolate that's for sure :)

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  7. How crafty ! How cute ! Thanks a bunch for such a good looking cake recipe :)

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    1. Why thankyou indeed! My family certainly enjoyed it :)

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  8. wow, that's beautifull cake..
    btw my mom actually never bake a cake with chicken egg...
    the cake is soften, no ned for baking fluffier/softener(tbm..
    unfortunately, this cost me about 20 minutes on treadmile for every single piece..hehehe

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    1. I hear you with the treadmill... I think I need to use it a lot more than I do already do- Maybe an hour per piece for me! :)

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  9. ooh ive heard about using duck eggs in sponge making but have never tried. i shall try it soon! i have only ever eaten salted duck eggs before.

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    1. I hope you can get your hands on them to give them a try. They make a beautiful cake indeed!

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  10. I love your site! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post
    on this topic thanks for sharing with us.Thank you
    glue removal

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    1. That's very thoughtful, thankyou very much :)

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  11. Rose geraniums are new to me but it sounds great and that cake looks wonderful.

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    1. THanks Maureen, I hope you can find some to give them a try. But it would still taste nice with good old vanilla :)

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  12. Rose Geraniums and Duck Eggs!! How different and interesting! I've never tried either ingredient Rebecca, sounds so exotic to me. Great post :)

    PS: feel free to edit this part out: I ALWAYS read every one of your posts and somehow i cannot ever leave a comment. I dont know why, if its my computer or what the story is...I hope this message gets to you because im sending it 'sneakily' from my work computer and for the first time in a while ive managed to get the 'comments' box to appear...weird!!

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  13. Hi Gourmet Wog, nice too meet you! Thanks so much, I'm glad you managed to say hello :)
    I have the same problem with a few other blogs as well, and I don't know with either. A lot of them just have disappearing comment boxes, or submit buttons, but I've found that if I stab blindly and optimistically where they should be/ or hit enter repeatedly- I can get it to work most times. I don't know why the internet gremlins get cranky sometimes, but I hope they let you stop by again soon! :)

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  14. I love this cake....I so want to dive in! The rose geranium leaves must have given an amazing flavor to the cake, and I love the raspberry jam combination too! Yummm!

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    1. Roses are related to raspberries Ina, so I figured the rose flavour would tye in well with raspberries instead of strawberries for a change. Thanks sweetie :)

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  15. I am going to do a run to the nursery today so I can smell rose geranium... I actually don't know what it is like!!

    I love your beautiful sponge and the gorgeous geranium leaf pattern pic, so beautiful!

    Occasionally I get given duck eggs so I will have to use the ratio method :)

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    1. Thanks sweetie! The ratio method is actually really good because weight values are more accurate for ingredients than saying 'just 3 eggs' I'd love to hear what you use you duck eggs for, any hints? :)

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  16. I've just try this with my souffle, it works but noa as beauty as yours....
    kinda tricky, but i think i'm gonna keep trying this..

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! I hope you got on the treadmill for every slice now too :)

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  17. That's a lovely idea to make a leaf pattern on the cake! :)

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